January 1, 2016 – Star Wars: The Force Awakens made its record-shattering debut two weeks ago. So by now, you’ve probably managed to view the movie a handful of times. Still, you may have missed certain cameos and voice-overs by well known actors in TFA, sometimes “hidden” in plain sight, other times concealed like precious Easter eggs.
Daniel Craig donned a stormtrooper’s costume, assigned to guard Rey during her interrogation. His character was Jedi-mind-tricked to release Rey (played by Daisy Ridley) from captivity. “You will remove these restraints and leave this cell with the door open,” she tentatively orders. Daniel Craig’s familiar voice replies, “What did you say? I’ll tighten these restraints, scavenger scum.” But Rey’s second try is successful and, in a nice bit of humor, Craig walks away in a trance and drops his weapon as he leaves.
Appropriately, the stormtrooper is named JB-007.
In July, 2015, a reporter from Entertainment Weekly had asked Craig to respond to a rumor about his upcoming cameo. Craig denied the rumor. “Why would I ever bother doing something like that? Pffft. Play an extra in another movie,” he said. And so, from a certain point of view, he either lied – or he complied with the strict confidentiality agreement that all Star Wars actors and crew members were required to sign.
In June, 2015, we reported that Ken Leung would likely play the role of a Resistance high officer. His appearance as Admiral Statura in TFA confirmed the rumor. You may remember Leung for his role as Miles Straume on the American television drama Lost (2004-2010) as well as X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) and other movies.
Greg Grunberg, a childhood friend of J.J. Abrams, appeared briefly as X-Wing pilot “Snap” Wexley in TFA. Grunberg also played a more Earth-bound pilot on Lost while also co-starring in the NBC television series Heroes (2006-2010), where he played the role of Matt Parkman. His other supporting roles can be seen on Felicity (1998-2002) and Alias (2001-2006).
Another X-Wing pilot was played by Game of Thrones actress Jessica Henwick as pilot Jess Testor. She is easy to miss because she never leaves her cockpit or removes her helmet in TFA.
Fellow Game of Thrones actor Thomas Brodie-Sangster plays the part of First Order Petty Officer Thanisson. He announces there’s an “unscheduled departure” when Poe and Finn try to escape via a stolen TIE Fighter. But that’s the last we hear from him. Finn blows him and fellow officers apart as Poe and Finn make their escape.
The Force Awakens was more than a visual treat. Sharp ears might have discerned the voices of Scottish actor Ewan McGregor (he played the young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequels) and the late Sir Alec Guinness (the original Obi-Wan in Star Wars: A New Hope). Both voices can be heard during Rey’s dreamlike vision sequence when she first discovers Luke’s lightsaber and hears, “Rey … these are your first steps.”
Guinness passed away in 2000. Sound engineers, however, were able to manipulate a single word the late actor had said (“Afraid”) in the very first Star Wars (1977), to make it sound as if he had said “Rey”. That audio snippet was then merged with Ewan McGregor’s line (“these are your first steps”). You can hear the evolution below:
Numerous other actors have bit parts in TFA, since everyone and their mother would be happy to be a part of the most successful space franchise ever. For a complete cast list, head to Wikipedia.